Saints end road hex, take first in NFC South with 28-10 victory at Carolina

New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (9) dives over the goal line for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The race to first place started out like a three-legged race, with one of the participants on each team wearing a shaven-down pegleg. The gates burst open at Bank of America Stadium, and both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers tripped, stumbled and fumbled their way through much of the first… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Style points aside, the Saints got it done ... on the road, no less

New Orleans Saints' Mark Ingram (22) moves against Carolina Panthers' Wes Horton (96) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stylish, it was not. The New Orleans Saints win with flair and panache at home, turning a brutal game into something often artistic and graceful. But take the Saints on the road, and it’s all gritted teeth and clenched fists and, lately, a lot of heartache. Seven straight times in… Continue reading →

New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White bounces back with key takeaway (again)

Associated Press BOB LEVERONE -- New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White, left, closes in as Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery misses a catch during Thursday night's game in Charlotte, N.C. Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis applies the hit.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After giving up the long touchdown that powered Detroit’s comeback victory from a 13-point deficit Oct. 19, Saints cornerback Corey White decided the yellowish mohawk he’d sported all season had to go. So he shaved it clean off — and he may never return to that hairstyle again after intercepting his second… Continue reading →

Finishing a game the right way

New Orleans Saints' Kenny Stills (84) runs past Carolina Panthers' James Dockery (31) after a catch in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The New Orleans Saints’ biggest problem in three of their first four road games this season — all losses — was not finishing. The problem Thursday night was starting. Playing just four days after a blowout win against the Green Bay Packers, the Saints offense turned the ball over on its… Continue reading →

Ex-Saint Roman Harper not jumping for joy after play

New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham (80) leaps over Carolina Panthers' Roman Harper (41) in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Getting leapfrogged by a former teammate couldn’t have been what Roman Harper had in mind in his first game against New Orleans since the Saints released him in the offseason. Jimmy Graham hurdled the Panthers safety after making a catch along the left sideline in the first quarter Thursday night. Harper’s flailing arms couldn’t prevent… Continue reading →

Saints 28, Panthers 10: Three and out

Associated Press photo by BOB LEVERONE -- New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram scores a touchdown in the second half of Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.

1. WHAT WE LEARNED Yes, Carolina, the Saints can win on the road. It had been nearly a year since New Orleans won away from New Orleans, but you could say this one was in some ways worth the wait. This was a big one, a 28-10 victory over the Panthers that put the Saints into… Continue reading →

Instant replay: Saints 28, Panthers 10

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) works against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

WHAT WE LEARNED The Saints play well against depleted teams. That’s the only thing that comes to mind. This Carolina team is a shell of the team that won the NFC South last year. Give the Saints credit for winning a road game and claiming first place in the division, but they were supposed to do… Continue reading →

Patriots defense preps to slow Broncos’ Peyton Manning

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Devin McCourty won’t allow himself to get caught up in Peyton Manning’s pre-snap antics on Sunday. New England’s Pro Bowl safety can’t afford to. He’ll end up losing. “I would say the chess game is pretty one-sided. It’s like being a kid going against a father in chess,” McCourty said of… Continue reading →

Gameday: Saints at Panthers (scouting report, predictions, injury report)

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton will try to win on the road at Carolina on Thursday night.

SCOUTING REPORT These aren’t the same Panthers that gave the Saints so much trouble last year. And to be fair, except for Sunday night’s performance against the Packers, this isn’t the same New Orleans Saints team that took Carolina to the wire last season — which, if you ask Panthers coach Ron Rivera,… Continue reading →

Saints can still realize dream of leading the NFC South with a win at Carolina

New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White (24) celebrates his interception with defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Sometimes, a new dream can be born where an old one died. That’s what would happen if the New Orleans Saints (3-4) can win at Carolina (3-4-1) on Thursday night and triumph for what would be only the second time in their past 11 regular-season road trips. That would be the case if the Saints avenge the… Continue reading →

Video: Saints' running back Mark Ingram just wants to let his play speak for itself

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKERSaints running back Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Packers.

Fresh off of rushing for a career-high 172 yards on 24 carries in the Saints 44-23 victory against Green Bay, New Orleans running back Mark Ingram talks his role in the team's running back-by-committee approach. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Lewis: Michael Irvin says Saints’ improved run game makes Drew Brees better

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) tries to run away from Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

The Saints are running the ball better than any of their eight previous seasons with Drew Brees at quarterback, the best in any year since 1987, in fact. And that, in turn, is making No. 9 an even better quarterback. “Drew has such great success out of play action,” Hall of Fame wide receiver and NFL… Continue reading →

Live Updates: New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints' Mark Ingram (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Carolina Panthers with Drew Brees (9) in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Is this the game that puts the Saints in first place in the NFC South? Get live updates and analysis during during the Saints at Carolina Panthers game, Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Click here to join the action.Continue reading →

Saints at Carolina Panthers pregame chat with the Advocate's Nick Underhill, Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) enters the field during pre-game introductions before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Advocate sportswriter Nick Underhill is on hand to answer your questions and give you last-minute information before the start of Thursday's Saints at Carolina Panthers game in this chat at 6:30 p.m. Click here to join the action.Continue reading →

Video: Saints coach Sean Payton says Carolina's Luke Kuechly is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Kevin Norwood (81) is hit by Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Charlotte. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Saints coach Sean Payton talks about how tough it is to gameplan and acocunt for Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechley, who has tremendous range, instincts and athleticism. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Video: There is no reason why the Saints shouldn't be in first place in the NFC South after Thursday

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton pauses during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

In this "Saints One Minute Scouting Report (Carolina Panthers)," Advocate sportswriter Nick Underhill talks about how Carolina's shortcomings on offense and defense can be exploited by the Saints in Thursday's NFC South game. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Saints scratch Pierre Thomas, David Hawthorne and Austin Johnson from Panthers game

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) rushes against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Veteran Saints running back Pierre Thomas will miss his second consecutive game due to a rib and shoulder injury when New Orleans (3-4) visits the Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) on Thursday night. Two others who will be sidelined for New Orleans are linebacker David Hawthorne (hand) and fullback Austin Johnson (knee), the Saints said Wednesday. The Saints listed… Continue reading →

Panthers scratch three from offensive line ahead of Thursday's Saints game

Carolina Panthers' Jonathan Stewart (28) looks for some running room against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Charlotte, N.C. The Seahawks won 13-9. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

The Panthers’ starting left tackle and two players who have served as first-string guards will not be able to play because of injuries when Carolina (3-4-1) hosts the Saints (3-4) on Thursday night. Byron Bell is out with a knee injury he sustained in Carolina’s 13-9 loss at home to Seattle on Sunday, and he will cede… Continue reading →

Saints defensive line coming together, bringing more pressure

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter of the Saints' 44-23 win Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After early season troubles, the Saints defensive line has been hitting its stride.

There’s no longer anything to lose. Maybe things were too tight or too complicated before. Something was holding the New Orleans Saints defense back during the first few weeks of the season, and at times it was frustrating. They knew they were better than what they were putting on film, but now they feel… Continue reading →

Mark Ingram not surprised by huge game against Packers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs against Green Bay Packers nose tackle Letroy Guion (98) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

Mark Ingram said he wasn’t surprised by his career-best, 172-yard rushing output against Green Bay. After all, it’s what Ingram has always known he’s capable of. “Numbers and stats, it’s really for everybody else,” said Ingram, who increased his season total to 331 yards — more than halfway past his best rushing effort for a season (602 yards… Continue reading →

Drew Brees has NFL completion record ... for now

Records are made to be broken — or even lost. At least that’s the way Drew Brees responded to the news that he is now the NFL’s career completion leader following his 27-32 performance in Sunday’s victory against Green Bay. That upped Brees to 4,686-7,094 for his career, 66.10 percent, .06 better than former frontrunner Chad… Continue reading →

Roman Harper feeling refreshed in Carolina

Carolina Panthers strong safety Roman Harper (41) intercepts a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Roman Harper wanted to feel young again. That’s why it didn’t hurt him when the Saints released him in February after he spent his first eight years in the NFL with them. The overarching on- and off-field philosophies, the practice schedule, the locker room — everything felt the same. And he thirsted for something new.… Continue reading →

Champ Bailey retires after sterling 15-year career

FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2014, file photo, New Orleans Saints cornerback Champ Bailey stands before an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. Bailey has decided to retire after a 15-year NFL career that included 12 Pro Bowl berths, a record for a cornerback. (AP Photo/Sam Riche, File)

DENVER — Former teammate Brian Dawkins called Champ Bailey “a great conserver of energy,” a rare superstar who was never in a rush to get anywhere “unless it was on a football field.” In that dawdling, you can count retirement. That finally came Tuesday, 60 days after Bailey was released by the Saints when… Continue reading →

Saints quarterback Drew Brees becomes NFL's all-time leader in completion percentage

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls out to the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

Records are made to be broken – or even lost. At least that’s the way Drew Brees responded to the news that he is now the NFL’s career completion leader following his 27-32 performance in Sunday’s victory against Green Bay. That upped Brees to 4,686-7,094 for his career, 66.10 percent, .06 better than former frontrunner Chad Pennington.… Continue reading →

Panthers safety Roman Harper is still missed by his old Saints teammates

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper (41) stops Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) short of a first down in a NFL NFC divisional football playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle, Wash. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham talk about how much they miss playing with safety Roman Harper, who went to the Carolina Panthers as a free agent in the offseason. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

The Saints' Jimmy Graham, Jonathan Goodwin, Kyle Knox limited in Tuesday practice

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) signals a first down catch against Green Bay Packers free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) and Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House (31) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

The Saints injury report for Tuesday’s practice remain unchanged. Running backs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (rib/shoulder), linebacker David Hawthorne (hand), and fullback Austin Johnson (knee) did not practice. Tight end Jimmy Graham (shoulder), center Jonathan Goodwin (knee/ankle), and linebacker Kyle Knox (ankle) were limited. The Saints travel to Carolina to play the Panthers… Continue reading →

Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan suspended for undisclosed reasons

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan hauls in a long pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game Aug. 15 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints have suspended wide receiver Joseph Morgan for reasons that were not immediately disclosed. Saints coach Sean Payton made the announcement Tuesday in his lone meeting with reporters before the team plays at Carolina on Thursday. Morgan has been a member of the Saints since 2011 but has only appeared in 15 games. Fourteen of… Continue reading →

Champ Bailey reportedly retires 2 months after Saints release

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints cornerback Champ Bailey, top, forces fullback Erik Lorig to fumble during Saints training camp Sunday in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

About two months after the Saints cut him at the end of the preseason, 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey is retiring, his agent reportedly told multiple journalists. Bailey had the most interceptions (52) among active cornerbacks when the Saints signed him to an incentive-laden, two-year deal this offseason with a $500,000 signing bonus. But Bailey suffered… Continue reading →

Saints running back Mark Ingram, receiver Brandin Cooks nominated for weekly awards

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs against Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (29) in a NFL football game in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

No surprise here, but Saints running back Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks' career nights in New Orleans' 44-23 victory over Green Bay on Sunday night have earned them nominations for weekly awards. Ingram, who is up for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award, rushed for more carries (24) and yards (172) against the Packers than… Continue reading →

Saints report card: Sack attack was star of lopsided win over the Packers

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, center, celebrates his sack of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers with outside linebacker Junior Galette in the third quarter of the Saints' 44-23 win Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Sitting at his locker a few weeks ago, Cam Jordan did not want to talk about pressures. He knew his pressure numbers were down this season, but the only thing he wanted to talk about was sacks. Despite knowing pressures help create mistakes, make quarterbacks uncomfortable, and often lead to bigger and better things,… Continue reading →

First look: Week 9, Saints at Panthers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) celebrates the touchdown of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) in a NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

WHEN: 7:25 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, N.C. TV: CBS, NFL Network RADIO: WWL-AM, 870 in New Orleans; KMDL-FM, 97.3 in Lafayette; WDGL-FM, 98.1 in Baton Rouge RECORDS: The Saints are 3-4. The Panthers are 3-4-1. LAST WEEK: Hosting the Seahawks (4-3), the Panthers… Continue reading →

Lewis: Quick turnaround is rough on the Saints, but that’s a fact of life in the NFL

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton tackles Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

New Orleans Saints linebacker David Hawthorne pondered the fact that, on a short week for both teams, the Carolina Panthers in theory could have been at home Sunday night watching the Packers-Saints game, getting the jump for a few extra hours of rest plus an early scouting report on their Thursday night opponent. “To me, 24… Continue reading →

Saints notebook: NFC South lead is already within reach

After avoiding what would have been its first 2-5 start with Sean Payton on the sideline, New Orleans will go for a more palatable “first” this Thursday. First place will be on the line when the Saints (3-4) play at Carolina (3-4-1) thanks to an amazingly poor start by the NFC South. New Orleans, Carolina, Atlanta… Continue reading →

Saints' Khiry Robinson, Pierre Thomas, David Hawthorne and fullback Austin Johnson still hampered by injuries

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) stiff arms Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

If the Saints had practiced today, a handful of players with new injuries would have missed the theoretical practice session. On the hypothetical practice report for Monday, New Orleans lists running back Khiry Robinson (forearm), running back Pierre Thomas (rib/shoulder), linebacker David Hawthorne (hand), and fullback Austin Johnson (knee) as missing the session. Tight end Jimmy… Continue reading →

Video: The Saints maligned players have big nights in the team's 44-23 victory against Green Bay

New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White (24) celebrates his interception with defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

The Saints, led by players like cornerback Corey White, linebacker David Hawthorne and running back Mark Ingram, defeated the Green Bay Packers 44-23 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Saints make a statement with their 44-23 victory over the Packers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Saints tight end Jimmy Graham celebrates his touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

Corey White cringed when told he was the hero of the night. He didn’t see it that way. Yes, he turned pregame jeers into raucous cheers by taking part in two plays that turned Sunday’s shootout with the Green Bay Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into an harder-than-it-looked 44-23 victory. But White doesn’t want the credit.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Not dead yet; Saints resemble Super Bowl contender in win vs. Packers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Saints coach Sean Payton talks with quarterback Drew Brees against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

The Saints' big win vs. the Packers made New Orleans -- for the first time this season -- look like the team that everyone back in the preseason thought was a Super Bowl contender.

Continue reading →

Video: Saints running back Mark Ingram credits his line for his career game against Green Bay

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKERSaints running back Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Packers.

Saints running back Mark Ingram rushed for a career-best 172 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries in the team's 44-23 victory against Green Bay in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Video: Saints quarterback Drew Brees says Green Bay Packers win the team's best of the season

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during a timeout in the second quarter  as they play Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he and his teammates had been looking to play a complete game this season, and they finally put everything together in their 44-23 win against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Click here to see the video.Continue reading →

Mark Ingram rushes for career-high 172 yards in win over Packers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKERSaints running back Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Packers.

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram had never carried the ball in an NFL game as many times as he did against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday night. The fourth-year pro rewarded the Saints for those 24 rushing attempts in a huge way: with a career-high 172 yards and one touchdown… Continue reading →

Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has rough day

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  Saints cornerback Corey White intercepts a pass intended for Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, right, during the fourth quarter of the Saints' 44-23 win Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

It seemed Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had the New Orleans Saints defense right where he wanted them Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome: backed up to their end zone in the third quarter with so many weapons at his disposal. Facing a third-and-goal at the 5, Rodgers stood confidently in shotgun formation and… Continue reading →

Saints notebook: Jonathan Goodwin’s starting streak ends at 104 games

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) runs in a touchdown in the first quarter while being chased by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Sam Barrington (58) as they play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

A streak that begin six years and 104 games ago against the Green Bay Packers in prime time ended against the same team on Sunday. Veteran Saints center Jonathan Goodwin was declared inactive for the game because of a leg injury. Goodwin had started every game since the Saints’ 51-29 victory against the Packers on Nov. 24. 2008. Along… Continue reading →

Saints-Packers Three and Out

1 WHAT WE LEARNED At last, and at least for one game, the Saints looked like the Super Bowl-worthy contender everyone thought they would be before the season began. A decisive 44-23 victory over a Green Bay team rolling on some strong momentum was New Orleans’ best performance by far. The Saints’ offensive line was in control,… Continue reading →